This is definitely a late-coming post. Especially since although I'm still breastfeeding, since we're over a year I don't need to worry about my supply.
BUT I do think this is especially helpful for anyone who is working on balancing that new mom stage with exercise.
Let's start at the very beginning. Does exercise affect supply? Well, there's no black and white answer to this. Not even with the same person!
After Thatkid was born, I jumped right back into running and exercise. And didn't notice a drop in supply. In fact, I found that days I worked out, my supply actually increased.
After Thatbaby was born, different story. I wasn't ready to jump right back in to anything. And I definitely noticed a supply issue once I did start.
It was beyond frustrating. Here I was trying to do something good for me - both my mental health and physical health, and it was having a negative impact on my ability to breastfeed.
I took a look at what I was eating, because the two biggest impacts on supply are usually calories and hydration.
And that's where I found my problem. I wasn't starving myself by any means, but the foods that I was eating (a lot of) were not terribly high in calories. I was taking in less than 1000 calories a day. And burning through them when exercising. It takes about 500 extra calories a day to make milk, and I did not have those extra calories.
And so I upped my calories, and my supply returned. Of course it means that now, over a year later I'm still hanging on to an extra 10lbs!
This is one of those very individual choices - there's nothing wrong with choosing to keep your calories and weight down. That's good for your mental and physical health too. And everyone has their own line for what sacrifices they are willing to make in their breastfeeding journey. But if you're struggling and trying to figure out why, take a look at what and how much you're eating. It worked for me!